I guess we sometimes just accept how new technology has replaced older technology until one day we need to use the old technology once again. I recall a time when having an automatic transmission was a luxury item and cost a heck of a lot more than a manual transmission. Automatics also didn’t get as good as mileage as the manuals did [at least that is what we were told], and automatics were expensive to repair or replace when they broke. But over the years having a car with an automatic transmission, at least for me, seemed, well, just normal. Who wanted to shift gears in busy city traffic or on a hill.
What brought back these memories was an incident that happened this past Saturday. I was at a friends house working on a computer glitch and had fixed the system faster than I had anticipated. When I went to go leave his daughter’s, boyfriends car was parked behind me. They had gone shopping and before they left had mentioned the keys were in the ignition if I needed to move it. I climbed in the car and stopped when I say it was a stick. I hadn’t driven a stick for a very long time and wondered if I could remember how to drive a stick. No problem since it all came back to me in a flash. But as I was driving home I thought to myself what ever happened to stick shifts?
I did a Google and discovered a web site about 25 things that are disappearing in America, including stick shift transmissions:
It’s hard to find a manual transmission these days. In 1980, J.D. Powers and Associates estimates that more than 35% of all cars sold had a stick shift. By 2005, that number had dropped to 6%. Four years later, finding a car with a manual transmission is a big challenge — you have to go either high end or very low end. 2008 was the last year that any manufacturer of full-size trucks offered a manual transmission. The 2008 Dodge Ram was the last to make manual an option. In 2009, the macho truck propelled by a driver with skill has gone the way of the buggy whip.
Interesting. So were some of the other items that are disappearing such as, landlines, dial up Internet access, outhouse, yellow pages, classified newspaper ads, movie rental stores, vcr’s, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and some other things that will be disappearing shortly. There is even a second part with more things that are disappearing like customer service, maple syrup and a lot more.
So if you are bored and want to see the entire list just click on the source button below.